I FEEL SO BETRAYED —
they’re not who I thought they were!
PREVIOUS: How ACoAs abandon others (3a)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
The previous post was about Idealizing others. This one is about how we diminish others. All ACoAs in this category are very angry, but some express it by perpetual crankiness while others do it by whining. It can show up in one of 2 ways:
a. As a reaction to over-valuing. When we idealize a person (new boss, teacher, lover, friend…), or a situation (a new marriage, job, home, party, holiday…) WE inevitably:
— set up the person or event to fail, because no one / no situation can fulfill our unrealistic expectations* – to be perfect, to make up for all our losses, to be all the things our WIC never got at home & which are still missing in our life. Basically we’re asking them to rescue us. It’s a way of using others.
— guarantee that we’ll be disappointed, sooner or later. We ask too much of them, which no person or situation can possibly live up to, even if it’s healthy!
*This is NOT the same as having the right to our needs, nor is it even about going to the wrong people for our needs. This is the WIC’s demand that someone or something make up for the totally of our original abandonment! It’s about wanting to be taken care of instead of taking care of ourselves – while not having to ask!
b. As a ‘life-style’ – finding fault (F.F.) with everyone, all the time. All in this group are very angry, but some express it by perpetual crankiness while others do it by whining. This can be an expression of several issues in the present:
i. Endless complaining (F.F.) can be a sure sign of narcissism, & comes from our needy WIC or PP, since we manage to make everything about us – somehow. Keep in mind that all wounded people have some N. in varying degrees, so do not use it for more S-H! It’s that we only reference ourselves, ignoring other possibilities, always judging the ‘other’ as bad because:
— it doesn’t fit some rigid notions of correctness from our PP, even tho the original parents never lived up to those standards
— we see everyone as exactly like our family, so they must be bad. This scares the WIC
— everyone/thing always still lets us down, causes us trouble, is there for us the way we want, so f-them
EXP: “I can’t stand that / it’s not good enough” means I know better, can do better..
— “They’re so stupid” means I’m superior to all you little people, and if I were doing it / running things, I would handle it much better….
— “How can they do that to me, no one ever listens to me….” means they’re not doing the job I want them to – of being the good parent
ii. We project our S-H onto the world. If I hate myself, I’m sure everyone else does too – or will if I give them a chance! Just like a liar or thief believes everyone else is a liar or thief, even if it’s just in their heart. So ‘I’ll hate all of you first, that way I don’t care & then I won’t get hurt anymore!’ Better to keep everyone at arm’s length than to be vulnerable.
ACoA IRONY: everything we think & feel is ONLY from our point of view (we assume no one else’s is valid) – other people’s needs don’t count, we don’t consider their limitation & don’t really want them to have boundaries, so we can be symbiotic.
At the same time, because we’re starving, our focus is completely outside of ourselves, on ‘people, places & things’ as the source of our nourishment & for our sense of identity. They are objects, not beings. If they don’t act the way we want, we feel justified in raging at them. (POST: People should treat me better, but I won’t let them”).
iii. F.F. in relationships – always looking for their flaws, no matter how unimportant, which will be a deal breaker for us – & we’ll always find some! This is especially true if someone gets too close, whether the relationship is short or long-term. We may like a person at first, but there’s no leeway for them to be human, imperfect or occasionally disappointing.
✶ This is a common ACoA ‘back-door’ in relationships – always having one foot out & one foot in, ready to bolt. We assume all relationships will end in abandonment anyway, so don’t get too invested! It feels safer than admitting that we need anything (company, fun, live, respect, validation, being seen….) OR to admit we’re needy & vulnerable under all the bluster.
Growing up in an emotionally & physically dangerous environment (at home & outside) left us with an inability to trust anyone – even people who are kind or neutral, in the present. We are terrified of being trapped, controlled, abused, abandoned – the way we were as kids. We found that so unbearable that:
— Early on, some of us created a fantasy world & retreated into it, turning everyone & everything into a fairy story, to make them safe. NOW we continue to protect ourselves from the way people really are by denying how they behave & whitewashing their motives: “They really didn’t mean that!” ….
— OR we decide as kids that no one is safe, & anyone who is kind, fair, or appropriate are either simply not in our line of sight / or we think they’re false or they want something / or that once they really get to know us they’ll stop being so nice.
• No Love: Undervaluing everyone & everything (“Life sucks!”) may seem like a protection against more hurt & punishment, according to the WIC. BUT it actually prevents us from taking in any available love, kindness & attention we’re so desperate for. This insures that we do not heal from our wounds, & keeps us forever needy. LOVE HEALS. Not just the exciting, sexually charged love of a mate, but everyday kindnesses, whether from a pet, the store clerk, a passing stranger, a good friend or the daily protection of our H.P.
• Poor Relationships: Fear of Intimacy is a core issue for ACoAs, which comes from both fear of being engulfed (weak boundaries) and fear of abandonment (self-hate). Our default position is that we are unworthy of being loved or valued, while everyone else (like a preferred sibling) is allowed.
• In childhood the people who were our mainstay for survival & who tied us symbiotically to them because of their FoA, were dangerous or cold or gone. That was too painful to bear but it’s the only form of intimacy our WIC knows, & we assume it’s all we can hope for. So some of us reverse it by projecting our parents’ toxic way of treating us onto others. Then everyone else in the world is untrustworthy so we’d rather do without, thank you very much! At its most severe, some ACoAs suffer from Attachment Disorder (in Adults)
PROBLEM: All the good, kind people are somewhere out of our line of sight, maybe behind us & we’re not using a rear-view mirror to see them. Or if we do stumble across one, we push them away because we’re sure they wouldn’t want us anyway!
Most of us gravitate to those who will prove our negative generalization, as a way to rationalize our rage & rebellion. Once in a while an ACoA will actually marry such a kind person – good for us! – without really understanding what they see in us.
HEALTH – We need to be able to:
• evaluate others realistically – to note their plusses & minuses
• choose people whose plusses outweigh their damage
• tolerate healthy people’s imperfections
• stop projecting our parent’s flaws on to everyone & everything
• OWN our own damage, so when someone pushes our buttons – we can take responsibility for our reactions & not make everything their fault!
NEXT: “Fear is the absence of love”